Biomech Motion Analysis System
This page provides access to software and data that may be used to analyze
planar human or animal motion. The data supplied have been used in various
research projects and student theses and are for research and educational
purposes only. No commercial use of these programs or data files is granted
without permission. These programs were originally written at the Kinesiology
Department, University of Waterloo principally by Mr. John Pezzack
and Dr. Gordon Robertson. Many others, including Dr. Herman Woltring, Dr.
Richard Wells, Dr. Michael Pierrynowski and Mr. Walter Kuryliak, under
the supervision of Dr. Robert Norman and Dr. David Winter, have contributed
to their development.
Since 1980 the development of these programs has been under the supervision
of Dr. Gordon Robertson, School
of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa. New programs have since been
written with the help of Mr. Don Bradley, Mr. Michael Marcoux and Mr. Edward
Lemaire. As expected, software that has evolved over many years by numerous
programmers (mostly on a voluntary basis) and programming styles is likely
to have many hidden errors. Every effort has been made to deliver software
that will run flawlessly on a suitable computer once the software has been
installed correctly. Don't expect perfection and keep information requests
to the author to an absolute minimum. Some documentation is available and
we hope that you will find useful information among these many programs
Contributed by D. Gordon E. Robertson, Ph.D. (email@example.com).
Please report problems and errors.
Links to most recent version at University of Ottawa:
Files on ISB web server (updated April 1998)
Access to updates to the software and other files may be obtained at the
FTP site 184.108.40.206. Use the ID "guest" with password "guest".
(2 kbytes) DOS installation program for extracting programs and other
files from the self-extracting archive, BIOMECH.EXE.
(2 Mbytes) Self-extracting archive containing programs, various batch
files and some sample data for testing system.
(343 kbyte) Self-extracting archive containing data files suitable
for analysis by the BIOMECH system.
(3 kbytes) Text file describing installation procedures.
See also the BioProc
signal processing package by the same author
How to install the system:
To install, download the INSTALL.BAT and BIOMECH.EXE files listed above
to a hard disk directory. The INSTALL.BAT file may have to be viewed by
the browser software and then saved using the "Save As" option from
the "File" menu. From the directory where the files were downloaded,
execute the following command:
where "x:" is the name of the drive where the software will be installed.
You will need, approximately, 5 Mbytes of disk space. Follow the directions
given in the README.TXT file to complete the installation. The batch file,
BIOMECH.BAT, requires that an ANSI.SYS driver be added to the CONFIG.SYS
file but this is only needed to display colours in the program menu. If
your monitor AND display adapter can use 132 column text mode (for example
VESA mode 10a) you should modify the file VID_132.BAT to call the adapter's
mode switching software. Some examples of this are in that file. Note,
you MUST include the following statement in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file:
where "x:" the the same drive letter used to install the software.
How to run the DOS software:
Several data files are included with the installation software, for example,
WALK.DG and LONGJUMP.DG. To run these data through the system go to the
subdirectory that contains the system, e.g., C:\BIOMECH, and execute the
BIOMECH WALK (or LONGJUMP)
You will be presented with a menu of programs that can be executed. Keep
in mind that the software must be excuted in a particular order as described
below. First press "D" twice to view the raw data file graphically. Press
"Q" to exit the graphical display program (IMAGER). Note, this program
can edit your data, so be careful. Next you must execute the program, CINEDATA,
to convert the data from digitizer units to real units. Press "C" to do
this. Next press "K" when you have returned to the main menu to run the
KINEMATICS program. After this program finishes you can view the "smoothed"
data and the kinematics of the markers, segments, joint (relative) angles
and total body (or partial body).
The results from each program are contained in ASCII files with the
extensions, .OUT. For example, the KINEMATI.OUT file contains the kinematic
results. All of these files have column widths of 132 and contain "form
feeds" for printing. They may be printed to a suitable printer. For instance,
on an HP LaserJet III choose font 1 to obtain 132 column output.
After running the KINEMATICS program, you may then execute any of the
The following programs operate on the unfiltered data files produced by
CINEDATA. They may be run before or after the KINEMATICS program.
ENERGY (press W) -to compute segmental mechanical energies and work
FORCE (press F) -to perform inverse dynamics to obtain net forces and moments
of force and the external and internal work done
MOMENTUM (press M) -to calculate linear and angular segmental and total
body momenta and total body moments of inertia
POWER (press P) -to produce segmental and joint power analyses (Note, this
program cannot be run until the FORCE platform program has been executed.)
Graphing of results can be realized by the included software but this is
better left to spreadsheet software, such as, Quattro Pro, Lotus 1-2-3
or Excel. After running the POWER program you may plot the powers produced
by the moments of force by selecting the "J" option and entering the filenames,
WALK.GRA or RUN.GRA. These files are used by the GRAPH program to describe
how to graph the joint angular velocities, moments of force and power.
The graphs are stored with file exteniosn, .PLT. These are HPGL files that
may be imported into presentation software (PowerPoint), graphics software
(CorelDRAW) or word processors (WordPerfect or Word). The files used to
graph results are contained in the subdirectory, \BIOMECH\GRAPHS.
FOURIER (press A) -to perform Fourier analyses of the markers
NOISE (press N) -to perform noise analysis using digital filtering techniques
ERRCHECK (press E) -to check the digitized segment lengths against the
directly measured lengths
How to install the data files:
To install the data directory, download the file Samples.exe (see above)
to a suitable drive then issue the command:
PKUNZIP Samples.zip -d
This will dearchive the files into their associated subdirectories,
ready for processing.
The following activities are included in the archive:
basketball layup and free throw
cart pushing up an incline
hurdling and sprinting (male and female)
rowing (Gjessing ergometer and on water)
walking (prosthetic, pathological and normal)
Many activities include both male and female subjects.
Some data files may be run by the simulation program, SIMULATE, for
example, the LONGJUMP.DG data file. This program computes the trajectories
of the body markers based upon the takeoff parameters contained in the
file, LONGJUMP.SIM, and the relative motions of the joints. The relative
motions are produced by the KINEMATICS program and are stored in the file,
LONGJUMP.DR. To change the takeoff parameters use the program, INTERACT
(press "I"). Note, these programs can only be run on certain data files
that use either a 10-segment model of the body (no feet or hands) or a
bilaterally symmetric, 6-segment model. These data files will be under
the subdirectory, \SAMPLES\SIMULATE\....
Documentation and references:
Several text files are available with the software. These may be viewed
by pressing "H" and then selecting the appropriate file. Much of the theory
and equations used to compute the results may be found in the following
For kinematics (KINEMATIC program):
Pezzack, JC, Norman, RW and Winter, DA (1977) An assessment of derivative
determining techniques used for motion analysis. J. Biomechanics,
For mechanical energy and internal work analyses (ENERGY
Martindale, WO and Robertson, DGE (1984) Mechanical energy variations
in single sculls and ergometer rowing. Can. J. Appl. Sport Sci.
For computer simulation and angular momentum analyses
(SIMULATE and MOMENTUM programs):
Lemaire, ED and Robertson, DGE (1988) Validation of a computer simulation
for planar airborne human motions. J. Human Movement Studies, 18:213-228
For joint and segmental power analyses (POWER program):
Winter DA and Robertson, DGE (1978) Joint torque and energy patterns
in normal gait. Biological Cybernetics, 29: 137-142.
Robertson, DGE and Winter, DA (1980) Mechanical energy generation, absorption
and transfer amongst segments during walking. J. Biomechanics, 13:845-854.
For kinematics, inverse dynamics, mechanical energy
and power analyses (KINEMATICS, ENERGY and FORCE programs):
Winter, D.A. (1984) Biomechanics and Motor Control of Human Movements.
New York:Wiley Interscience.
Remember when in doubt or trouble consult a knowledgeable
computer guru and/or the supplied documentation before writing the author.
Only email will be accepted. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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